A local non-profit youth organisation has decried the use of racial and religious sentiments by candidates in the upcoming Melaka elections.
The group, Architects of Diversity Malaysia (AOD), said in a statement that “it’s high time politicians stop exploiting race and religion while campaigning”, as it detracts from the real issues of the day.
“(Instead they should) focus on policies and what they can really do to uplift the people’s lives,” said AOD Senior Associate Mayna Patel.
AOD had launched a online campaign – dubbed #KamiNampak – which seeks to monitor the candidates social media pages for such remarks, and perhaps unsurprisingly, there were more than a handful.
As of yesterday, 17 November, the group has recorded a staggering 17 instances of racial and religious remarks being used, with none of the three main political coalitions free from blame. These remarks are said to come from both the candidates’ as well as their respective party’s official social media pages.
Besides the negative messaging, the group has also found that offending candidates engage in “disinformation, misinformation, and malinformation” whilst campaigning.
“We cannot move forward with national unity if our own leaders still use polarising strategies for their gain. The shadows of our colonial divide-and-rule tactic still runs deep within our political system,” said AOD’s co-founder Jason Wee.
The offences range from Barisan Nasional proclaiming that only they “can protect and defend our religion” and “ensure the dignity and pride of our race is protected” to, similarly, the Pakatan Harapan aligned DAP party saying “you call yourself a Malay-Muslim government, but lucky draws have increased 22 times!”
The group says they have more than 30 youth volunteers who are monitoring all parties’ election campaign materials & social media activity for such uses.